This health care org co-founded by a right-wing, abstinence-only, anti-choice Republican (and, literal cat-killer) is probably more interested in killing single payer than it is in protecting your health

Katie Halper
Feb 7, 2018 · 3 min read

Bill Frist is a staunchly anti-choice, anti-medicine, and anti-science doctor and senator (TN-R), who said (in 2004!) that he didn’t know if HIV could be communicated by sweat and tears.

He claimed he was able to determine that Terry Schiavo was not, in fact, in a permanent vegetative state by reviewing video footage of her. As Senate majority leader, he voted for a federal ban on third-trimester abortions. Bill Frist is also, I kid you not, a cat-killer and kidnapper.

George W. Bush admires the portrait of his political ally Bill Frist
Bill Frist with Bush and Public Option killer Joe Lieberman

Another thing he is, as of Tuesday: a co-founder of the newly launched United States of Care, an organization which claims to “put healthcare over politics.”

United States of Care hasn’t released any actual policy detail yet, beyond a vague commitment to bipartisan… bipartisanness. The organization’s other founders and board members include veterans of the Obama administration (Andy Slavitt, who was the Acting Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service under Obama, is the board’s director), the George W. Bush administration, Hillary Clinton campaign, elected officials of both parties, actors Andy Richter and Bradley Whitford, entrepreneur Mark Cuban and not a small number of health-care executives from Kaiser Permanente, BlueCross BlueShield, Dignity Health, and Trinity Health.

And, according to Bloomberg, the bipartisan mission of United seems to be, at least in part, to fend off the threat of single payer:

The organization is trying to prepare for an eventual opening for bipartisan policy making, while heading off increasingly volatile swings in health policy when political fortunes shift in Washington. Already, potential Democratic contenders for the 2020 presidential election are signing on to Senator Bernie Sanders’ ‘Medicare for All’ bill, which has more than a dozen co-sponsors in the Senate.

If this interpretation is correct, United States of Care exists to stop Single Payer, in its tracks. And if that’s true, this organization’s very existence speaks to the strength, popularity and political viability of Medicare for All. And this would make its opposition to not pragmatic but ideological, cynical and dishonest, since one of the arguments against single payer is that it lacks a political mandate.

Going back to Frist, this isn’t just the liberal co-opting of health care reform through the sorts of meaningless touchy-feely platitudes we’ve seen since the primary; it’s actually supported by a rabid right winger who the liberals who claim to be progressives-who-get-things-done would never be caught dead working with. Until now. Because that’s how much they hate and fear actually enshrining health care as a right.

[Hear actual Dr. Adam Gaffney explain the “sneaky phrase,” of “universal health coverage,” used by people to undermine oppose single payer here.]


Andy Slavitt responded to my tweet…

though not my follow up

Katie Halper

Written by

Left Feminist BernieBro. Host The Katie Halper Show on WBAI/iTunes/SoundCloud/Patreon. Writes at Paste, The Nation, Rolling Stone, Vice, Salon. Aspiring vid *.

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